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Northwestern / Kellogg Recommendation Questions 2016-2017

Liza Kirkpatrick

Following the recent release of its MBA deadlines and essay topics, the Kellogg application is now live for the Class of 2019 — this means that the Kellogg recommendation questions for the 2016-2017 admissions season are now available to recommenders of Northwestern applicants. Recommenders are asked to provide background information about their relationship with the applicant, rate them on a series of leadership-related skills and qualities, and briefly respond to four questions about constructive feedback and how the applicant compares to others.


2016-2017 Northwestern Kellogg Recommendation Questions

Are you a Kellogg Alumnus?

Have known candidate since:

Please comment briefly on the context of your interaction with the applicant and his/her role in your organization.
(250 characters)

What has been the candidate’s most significant contribution to your organization? Provide measurable impact if applicable. (250 characters)


Leadership Assessment

Please assess the candidate on the following skills/qualities: 

Results Orientation

5 – Invents and delivers best in class standards and performance
4 – Introduces incremental improvements to enhance business performance using robust analysis
3 – Exceeds goals and raises effectiveness of organization
2 – Overcomes obstacles to achieve goals
1 – Fulfills assigned tasks
No Basis

Strategic Orientation

5 – Implements a successful strategy that challenges other parts of the company or other players in the industry
4 – Develops insights or recommendations that have shaped team or department strategy
3 – Develops insights or recommendations that have improved business performance
2 – Identifies opportunities for improvement within area of responsibility
1 – Understands immediate issues of work or analysis
No Basis

Team Leadership

5 – Recruits others into duties or roles based on insight into individual abilities; rewards those who exceed expectations
4 – Actively engages the team to develop plans and resolve issues through collaboration; shows how work fits in with what others are doing
3 – Solicits ideas and perspectives from the team; holds members accountable
2 – Assigns tasks to team members
1 – Avoids leadership responsibilities; does not provide direction to team
No Basis

Influence and Collaboration

5 – Builds enduring partnerships within and outside of organization to improve effectiveness, even at short-term personal cost
4 – Brings others together across boundaries to achieve results and share best practices
3 – Generates support from others for ideas and initiatives
2 – Engages others in problem solving
1 – Accepts input from others
No Basis


5 – Presents views clearly; solicits opinions and concerns; discusses them openly
4 – Presents views clearly and demonstrates understanding of the response of others
3 – Presents views clearly and in a well-structured manner
2 – Is generally to the point and organized
1 – Sometimes rambles or is occasionally unfocused
No Basis

Information Seeking

5 – Involves others who would not normally be involved including experts or outside organizations; may get them to seek out information
4 – Does research by making a systematic effort over a limited period of time to obtain needed data or feedback
3 – Asks a series of probing questions to get at the root of a situation or problem
2 – Personally investigates problems by going directly to sources of information
1 – Asks direct questions about problem at hand to those individuals immediately available
No Basis

Developing Others

5 – Inspires and motivates others to develop by providing feedback and identifying new growth opportunities as well as supporting their efforts to change
4 – Gives specific positive and negative behavioral feedback and provides unfailing support
3 – Gives specific positive and negative behavioral feedback to support the development of others
2 – Points out mistakes to support the development of others
1 – Focuses primarily on own abilities
No Basis

Change Leadership

5 – Builds coalition of supporters and coordinates change across multiple individuals; may create champions who will mobilize others to change
4 – Promotes change and mobilizes individuals to change behavior
3 – Defines positive direction for change and persuades others to support it
2 – Challenges status quo and identifies what needs to change
1 – Accepts status quo; does not see the need for change
No Basis

Respect for Others

5 – Uses understanding of others and self to resolve conflicts and foster mutual respect
4 – Is respectful to all and generous with praise; ensures other opinions are head
3 – Is humble and respectful to all
2 – Generally treats others with respect; usually shares praise and credit
1 – Is sometimes self-absorbed and overly self-interested
No Basis


5 – Is reliable and authentic even at some personal cost; works to ensure all members of the organization operate with integrity
4 – Is reliable and authentic even at some personal cost; acts as a role model for the values of the organization
3 – Acts consistently with stated intentions even in difficult circumstances
2 – Generally acts consistently with stated intentions
1 – Shows occasional lapses in trustworthy behavior
No Basis

Based on your professional experience, how do you rate this candidate compared to her/his peer group?

  • The best I’ve encountered in my career
  • Outstanding (Top 5%)
  • Excellent (Top 10%)
  • Very Good (Well above average)
  • Average
  • Below Average
  • No Basis

If needed, please explain any rankings above. (250 characters)

Do you recommend this candidate for Kellogg?

  • Recommend the candidate
  • Recommend with reservations
  • Do not recommend this candidate

Are you willing to speak with an admissions officer about this candidate? (Yes or No)


Recommendation Upload

  1. Please comment on the candidate’s openness to new experiences and demonstrated intellectual curiosity. (300 words)
  2. How does the candidate’s performance compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles?
  3. Please provide specific examples. (300 words)
  4. Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the candidate. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (250 words)
  5. (optional) Is there anything else you would like us to know?

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Posted in: Recommendation Questions, Recommendations

Schools: Northwestern / Kellogg

About the Author

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